Chichester district’s housing future to be decided

Aerial view of Chichester cathedral.   Picture: Allan Hutchings
Aerial view of Chichester cathedral. Picture: Allan Hutchings

HUNDREDS of residents have had their say on plans for almost 7,000 new homes.

Since March last year, residents, campaign groups and parish councils have had their say on Chichester District Council’s local plan.

Now, however, the final public consultation has closed and the plan is set to be submitted to the secretary of state before the summer.

“It is intended the final plan is submitted to the secretary of state by late spring and we hope the local plan will be adopted during the autumn,” said a council spokeswoman.

“Hundreds of people have put forward their views on the plan and this has helped feed into the final version.

“The plan is important because it is the blueprint that will guide development across the district over the next 15 years.

“It covers Chichester, Selsey and the many villages and parishes that make up the Chichester district outside the South Downs National Park.”

The local plan identifies a need for 6,973 homes over the next 15 years – around 410 homes per year.

According to the council, more than 3,000 of these will come from sites which already have planning permission, been identified for housing or from so-called windfall sites (less than six homes).

Around 2,950 will come from strategic housing sites.

These include the big four – Shopwyke, West of Chichester, Westhampnett and Tangmere – and three smaller sites in Southbourne, Selsey and East Wittering/Bracklesham.

Shopwyke has already been granted permission for 500 homes.

Developers have said the site west of Chichester, known as Whitehouse Farm, could deliver up to 1,600 homes with 1,000 built during the plan period. However, residents described the scheme as a ‘desecration’.

Developers originally hoped to build 1,500 homes on the Westhampnett site, but officers set a target of 500 because large parts of the site fall in the River Lavant floodplain.

Proposals of at least 1,500 homes were originally promoted by a consortium of three landowners for Tangmere. However, they are now working separately and the plan identifies 1,000 homes by 2029 as ‘reasonable’.

Southbourne is allocated 300 homes, Selsey 150 and East Wittering/Bracklesham 100 homes. Around 670 homes are expected to come from parish housing sites.

The latest round of consultation closed on January 6 with 469 comments submitted. A previous consultation led to changes to the draft plan, including added protection for environmentally-sensitive areas and changes to some of the site boundaries.

The plan also includes proposals for boosting jobs and community facilities with 25 hectares of land allocated to support business growth.